Terrace Houses Pack Deal
Complete your background scene with terraced houses. Loads of character. Make to OO gauge, HO, or N scale.
7 Terraced Model Houses To Build To Scale for N Scale, OO Gauge or HO scale Railroads
6 Tips and Tricks of Painting Mountain Railroad Scenery and Backdrops
By Guest Columnist Arnold Jacobs
Adding realistic backdrops of warehouses or model houses and shops to your railway layout not only makes your setup look real but can also make it appear larger than it actually is. You can achieve this effect by using different techniques to paint your railroad backdrop before positioning your warehouse buildings, or terraced model houses and stores in front. You can add anything to your railroad backdrop from rugged mountains, to farm houses, factories, or urban cities and terraced houses with just a stroke of your brush, or by using downloaded paper model of buildings.
Some people like plain blue backdrops, while others might prefer adding details. If you are just a beginner and do not know from where to start and how to go about designing the backdrop for your model railroad, then here are a few steps that you can take to get started.
1. Plan Your Background Setting
It is better to plan ahead before you start working on your railroad backdrop. If you are out of ideas at the moment or are unsure about the final look of your railroad, then it is better to leave working on your backdrop for last and start designing the other aspects of your setup.
Before you start painting your backdrop take a look around. You will be amazed at how little we know about our own surroundings. Make a trip to the place that you are trying to capture in your scenery and take your camera, mobile, and notebook with you. This will help you in getting the feel of the place that you are trying to depict in your railroad scenery. The other option is to search Google images for photos of landscapes and scenery. Including buildings with people and activity is a sensible idea. The scaled background buildings could be houses, factories, warehouses, shops, even a fire station or cinema.
2. Practice Before You Paint Your Scenery
If you are only a beginner and do not know how to paint, then it is better that you do a little practice before starting to paint the real thing. If you are making railroad mountain scenery, or painting a backdrop, then make sure that you have images to refer to while you paint. While you practice try to copy the images, colors, hues, tones and scenes in the pictures that you have taken. You might not get it right the first time but you will get better with each attempt and soon you will be able to paint the scene to closely resemble what you see in the photos. You don’t need to paint model buildings if you use downloaded plans like the ones available on this website. There are more than 200 different designs to select from if you are building model houses, warehouses, railway stations, shops, wall, bridges, tunnel portals and other structures likely to be present on model railroads.
3. Paint in Layers
Start painting from back to front to add more depth in your layout. Start with the basic background on clouds and skies and then as you move along start adding more details to your background. Painting multiple layers will add a 3D effect to your model railroad background scenery. Preparation is important before you build model houses or other structures for your train layout.
4. Add the Effects of Light
Try to picture the position of Sun at the time of the day that you are painting. Stay consistent with this position throughout the scenery. If you are using images for reference then make sure that you try to capture the same lights that are visible in the photos. This will help you in maintaining the focus while you paint your entire backdrop or mountain scenery. Which direction is the sun coming from? How would it affect the lighting of model houses and warehouses set against the backdrop?
5. Keep It Easy and Simple
Your model railroad backdrop is just a background and the real hero of your train layout are the locomotives and trains. No matter how beautiful your backdrop or model house buildings are; people are primarily interested in watching nice locomotives and trains on your railroad. Do not lose focus and ignore the main objective of designing your train layout. Scenery and structures are important but the movement of your trains operating will be a major attraction for visitors.
6. Don’t Aim To Be Perfect
Nothing is perfect around us and the same can be said for the scene that you are trying to capture in your backdrop scenery and when building model houses or warehouses. The sky will not always be the perfect shade of blue, and the clouds will not always be white and fluffy, the tree and leaves will not always be perfect and green, model houses to build will not necessarily look shiny and new. Using the building of model houses as an example; houses that are made from bricks often show signs of cracking, mold build-up, water damage, flaky paintwork, dirt, grime and other imperfection are common on model houses that resemble full-sized houses in real life situations. Only brand new houses would be 100% perfect. Therefore, try not to make your backdrop, scenery, structures or model house buildings look perfect. Add little irregularities and you will be astounded at how natural your background, model railroad mountain scenery, and model houses look.
To give your train layout a realistic look use of the given scenery tips to breathe life in your layout. Your trains will look stunning when they travel through amazing landscapes complete with naturally weather model houses that look as though they were build a few years earlier, so have a few real looking imperfections.